For a lot of revelers and families alike, Oktoberfest is a popular yearly occurrence, imported from Munich, Germany. While we recently rounded up the best local breweries for those interested in sipping, this particular autumn tradition is not to be missed. Celebrate in style with multiple events throughout the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland area. What better way to ring in the new season than with a traditional lager or a more modern, local craft brew?
The D.C. area has a vibrant history of German-American immigration, dating to even earlier than the beginning of Oktoberfest as an agricultural fair in 1811 in Bavaria. Since colonial times, Germans made settlements across Maryland—most notably at Frederick (then Fredericktown) and around Baltimore. Towards the turn of the twentieth century, the Foggy Bottom area in Washington, D.C. grew to be a bustling industrial center where many workers were of German descent.
Official Oktoberfest in Munich runs from September 22 through October 7, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy closer to home. In particular, keep your eye on the ever-popular Busch Gardens Bier Fest, which is only running for a few more days, and the Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, for which McEnearney Associates’ Your At Home Team is Fort Belvoir’s 2018 Title Sponsor. While it’s not an Oktoberfest, you can also taste a little bit of local beer with D.C. brewing history at the Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle, which offers Brewmaster Tours on September 14th and September 28th.
See below our full lineup of Oktoberfest events and fall beer festivals across the DMV area, arranged by date. Prost!
August 15 – September 3 | Williamsburg, VA
Celebrate with fireworks, enjoy brewery talks, or go on a brews cruise. They are especially proud to feature local Virginia brews! The Bier Fest is included with park admission, but sampler packs and cruises are an extra cost. Ongoing daily, including Labor Day.
September 6 | Stevensville, MD
Free! $4 for commemorative glass with one pour of Oktoberfest, and $2 additional pours. 21+ only.
September 14 | Lorton, VA
Their seasonal Oktoberfest variety, Nautifest will be tapped. Drafts and six-packs will be available.
September 15 | Strasburg, VA
$3 at the door. Family-friendly events include
September 15 | Hanover, MD
Ticketing options include General Admission (no sampling) and unlimited tasting options. Prominent breweries plus wine and spirit options. Multiple live performances. Kids welcome.
Thursdays September 21 – October 12 | Capitol Hill, D.C.
Selected German draft list. A popular Capitol Hill spot since 2010. 8 p.m. on Thursdays, competitions and prizes available.
September 22 | Woodbridge, VA
Hosted by Brew Republic Bierworks at Stonebridge at the Potomac Town Center. Marzenbiers competition, food, entertainment. Fun for all ages.
September 27 – 30 | Fort Belvoir, VA
22nd Annual, making it one of the longest-running Oktoberfests in the area. A fair-like feel, with fun and entertainment for the whole family! McEnearney Associates’ Your At Home Team is Fort Belvoir’s 2018 Title Sponsor.
Multiple Events | Waterfront at King Street, Old Town Alexandria, VA
September 29: Outdoor Oktoberfest Party
October 12 – 14: Waterfront Beer Garden Oktoberfest Weekend (Waterfront at King Street)
This waterside event series also features IPAs October 19 – 20 and dark beers October 26 – 27.
September 28 – 29 | Frederick, MD
Friday is 21+ only, Saturday is all ages. Sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery. New this year are team competitions!
September 29 | Lovettsville, VA
Over a half-mile of food booths and entertainment, including a main stage. Free! Includes admission, parking, shuttles, music, kinderfest. Beer is for purchase only.
September 29 | Dupont, D.C.
Purchase of admission ticket required. Includes a 12-oz serving of Oktoberfest edition beer at each venue.
September 29 | Crystal City, Arlington
“Northern Virginia’s Largest Oktoberfest.” 50+ breweries (lots of local from DC, VA and MD!) with 100+ craft beers to sample. Ticket price includes 10 samples.
September 28 | Penn Quarter, D.C.
For a fancier take on this tradition, check out a meat-centric five-course meal, with beer pairings complementing each course, for $75 in Art and Soul’s private dining room. Menu in the link.
September 29 | North Bethesda, MD
Free admission, or option for $35 package to include stein, t-shirt, and two pours, or option for $15 for a t-shirt and beer.
September 29 | U Street, D.C.
Celebration will include German food, competition, and seasonal Oktoberfest brews.
September 30 | Shirlington, Arlington
Hosted by New District Brewing Company. Musicians, Performing Artists, Local Artists, Kid-Friendly Zone.
October 3 | West Alexandria, VA
A fundraiser to support Senior Services of Alexandria. Tickets include beer tastings and brewery tours.
Nightly, October 5 – 7 | Reston, VA
General admission is free, food and drinks are for purchase. Carnival tickets also available for purchase. Wide selection of Oktoberfest beers and food vendors.
October 6 | Accokeek, MD
Family-friendly. Features performances from a Bavarian dance group, German food and beer, hay wagon rides, crafts, and an opportunity to meet barn animals. All proceeds benefit environmental education programs.
October 13 | Downtown, D.C. (Pennsylvania Ave NW between 3rd & 6th Streets)
Selections from 120+ breweries with over 350 brews. This signature event is also the annual fundraiser for Arcadia, a nonprofit dedicated to sustainable local food systems. Tickets support their demonstration farm in Alexandria, mobile farmers markets, a veteran’s program, and more.
October 13 | Baltimore, MD
Regular and VIP session options. All you care to taste (unlimited samples) of over 150 international, domestic, and local Maryland beers (also wine and schnapps). Entertainment provided, food for a la carte purchase. Also kicks off Baltimore Beer Week, which runs October 12th through 21st!
October 14 | Gaithersburg, MD
27th Annual Celebration held on the grounds of the Kentlands Mansion, Main Street, and Market Square. Admission and parking are free.
October 14 | Annapolis, MD
Beer from eight local breweries. Witness a homebrewing competition with celebrity judges. Entertainment, pumpkin carving, demos and food. General admission ticket purchase required.
November 3 | Navy Yard, D.C.
Offerings from around 50 breweries. Ticket required: general admission or VIP options available. Entertainment includes DJ, lawn games and more. Food trucks on site. 21+ only.
Photos (in order of appearance) courtesy of Adobe Stock (main photo), Busch Gardens Bier Fest, Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, Lovettsville Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest Reston (c) Chip McCrea Photography 2016, and DC Beer Festival.